Following Nyepi — a day of silence for Balinese Hindus marking the Saka New Year — Banjar Kaja in Sesetan, Denpasar, holds Omed-Omedan, a kissing festival for local teenagers that is believed to ward off bad luck in the year ahead.
The story goes that the festival began “a long time ago,” but nobody quite knows when. A group of bored teenagers were hanging around, playing games outside on Nyepi near the house of an elderly village leader who was sick. When the leader stepped outside to scold the laughing teenagers, he instantly felt better.
The festival has been held ever since. In the 1970s, it was moved to the day after Nyepi to respect the silence edict. There was only one year that the festival did not push through and locals say that on that day, the head of the community found two pigs fighting outside the main temple.
At this time, both young boys and girls who had been selected by the committee, as if they had been “mating” randomly then force to hug and kissing in front of thousands of people.
In Balinese language, “omed” means pull and “omed-omedan” for pull each other. But in this tradition it’s means men and women who hug and kiss each other. This year omed-omedan festival, there are 50 young men and 50 young women of local banjar who decided will followed this traditional ritual.
The background of this tradition, according to several statements, as it is part of loyalty and worship to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, The Almighty God.
Since noon, thousands of people filled Jalan Raya Sesetan in front of Bale Banjar Kaja – Kaja assembling hall – to further enliven “Omed-Omedan” ritual, that banjar packaging their cultural ritual in a theme “Banjar Kaja Heritage Festival.
Before queue of “Omed Omedan” participants get ready, previously they had to pray at Banjar Kaja Temple led by local priest. Then, while get accompanied with Balinese traditional music, or called as gamelan, those youth queue paraded into the “Omed Omedan” arena so they will get their turn one by one.
The festival get more enliven when the committee poured water irregularly to the viewers and participants. Whoever is in that arena could become wet and this is precisely the attraction of this ritual conducted on ‘Ngembak Geni.”
This all held in the name of history that happens few years ago. Not meaning that Balinese exploit or exhibit the sex, porn or kissing it. We love to all people with love, we love the peace.